By Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey
His Holiness, Pope Francis, directed prayers, worldwide, after his visit to the Central Africa Republic and South Sudan failed for security reasons. The Africans and Europeans supported the failure of the Holiness visit, as the correct reading of the prevailing insecurity in the areas. But, the Pope has been strongly and persistently focused on the humanitarian disasters occurring in South Sudan, Congo, Central Africa, Nigeria, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and the international Radical Islamic Terrorism. Because of His humanitarian commitments, the Pope, with the unwavering support from the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, committed nearly two billion Christians worldwide to the fasting, and prayers, on 23 February 2018.
Will these unprecedented prayers every hold, throughout the World Christians Community Centers and the Churches every succeed? Yes, we believe that only God is the answer. He always hears our prayers.
However, the demons, in form of humans, did not pay attention or bothered to support the Holy-Led prayers. The prayers were the pursuit of “peace of Jesus,” for Congo and South Sudan. In reality, peace is now blessed and en routed towards our destiny; Congolese and South Sudanese designated peace only for survival. Will the Congolese and South Sudanese searchers for just peace and survival every get an appropriate answer?
It is high hope and expected that God acts mysteriously and He alone has the answer. But, the historical perspectives of the Democratic Republic of Congo has their tales since the 1960s. The country had never been in peace with itself or had a genuine support from former colonial Belgium, Europe, the United States of America, African Union (AU) or neighboring African countries. The first President of the newly independent Democratic Republic of Congo was Josep Kasavubu (1910-1969), who ruled from 1 July 1960 to 24 November 1965, along with Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba (1925-1961), who ruled from June to September 1960/1961 (assassinated on 17/18 January 1961).
The main reasons that led to Lumumba’s assassination were controversial and linked to the communist Soviet block support for Lumumba’s strong revolutionary leadership. The Americans do not want communist Russia to take charge of the independent Republic of Congo. The United States of America, Western Europe, and China were uncomfortable with the Russian expansionism and formal spread of communism, promoting the cold war to usher anti-capitalists regimes in Africa.
As a threatening ideology, the USA could not tolerate a communist regime even if it was run by a Democrat. Instead, the US decided to forsake liberties, and freedoms even if those values were enshrined in a constitution. To control the country and its resources, the US came out openly and supported a dictatorship, led by the commander in chief of the Congolese army forces, General Mobutu Sese Seko (1930-1997). In a military coup President Joseph Kasavubu (1910-1969), of the Democratic Republic of Congo was overthrown on 24 November 1965. The USA justified this move for dictatorship, against democracy, as a measure necessary to save Africa from Soviet Union’s communist expansionism and cold war (1960-1991). The US backed the military dictator, General Mobutu Sese Seko, from 1965 to September 1997, the year he was deposited, through the revolution led by Laurent Kabila (1939-2001). As a result, Laurent Kabila became President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, from 17 May 1997, after which he restored the name of ‘the Democratic Republic of Congo, thus abolishing “Mobutu’s Zaire- named of 1965.”
All the same, scenario that led to Lumumba’s fate lured by President Laurent Kabila who was also assassinated, the manner in which Prime Minister Lumumba was assassinated. Who assassinated Laurent is not known up to now. With Lumumba, Kasavubu, Mobutu, and Laurent Kabila death and mysterious assassinations, the Democratic Republic of Congo could not recover from it’s human-made economic, social, political anarchy and chaos since 1965.
In a nutshell, these chaos, which has heavily encrusted Congo, were built-in by the USA. There is no change expected, even with the world prayers for Congo and South Sudan, if American interests are not secured. The same phenomenon of American interests is responsible for the continuing instability and insecurity hanging over Sudan then and over South Sudan now. It is the American national interest that induced the US governments to come back to Sudan, after the Osama bin Laden terrorist attacked and destruction of New York World Trade Center on 11 September 2001.
Osama bin Laden then was based in Sudan, Khartoum, from 1991 to 2002. The USA Government demanded the Government of Sudan to arrest Osama bin Laden and hand him over to the CIA, in lieu of recognition of the dictatorial Islamic regime and would intervene by mediating between Sudan Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, SPLM, in order to end the war. Instead of handing over Osama to Americans, President Al Bashir of Sudan politely requested bin Laden to leave Khartoum for his home, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Osama felt unsafe and had to escape to Afghanistan. During his terrorist campaign to “kill Americans, Jews and Christians” he met his fate and died a mysterious death in Pakistan.
It had to be recalled that from the time of independence of Sudan 1956, American relations with Sudan had been cordially warm. The USA had supported the Sudan independence from Britain and Egypt. Throughout, USA supported first democracy from 1956-1958. It supported military dictatorship of General Ibrahim Aboud from 1958 to its endings on 21 October 1964. Supported democracy 1964 to 25 May 1969 and continued to support military dictatorship led by General Ga’afer Mohamed Numieri who was again overthrown in 1985 by the military-civilian uprising. Then came the democratically elected Government of Prime Minister Sadik Al Mahdi, from 1986 to 1989. This government was also toppled by Islamic military coup led by General Omer Hassan Al Bashir. It is a dictatorship but again, condoned and supported now by the USA administration. Americans diplomacy has always related to Governments, liberal or dictatorship, in Congo, Egypt, and Sudan. In spite of Osama bin Laden terrorist conspiracy against the USA on 11 September 2001, the USA managed to reconcile and forgive Sudan for having accommodated and sponsored Radical Islamic Terrorism.
In 2002 the Americans physically intervened in Sudan. First, they evicted Radical Islamic terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden, and persuaded President Al Bahir to disassociate his Government from Radicals Muslims who were then running public institutions and the executive. And second, for the government of the USA to meditate and conduct peaceful resolution of the arms conflict between Sudan Government’s ruling party, National Congress, NC, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, SPLM. Both sides, Khartoum and Washington, were committed to making diplomatic business, “as usual.” It took the parties and mediators, two full years effectively, from 2003 to 2005 to accomplish and signed various protocols (Abyei, Nuba Mountains, South Blue, and borders). The success of the long negotiations, the holding of the ceasefire, and resulting signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, CPA, brought the two parties and Troika (the USA, UK, and Norway) closer to one another. Thus automatically restoring the long lost confidence between two belligerences which could have amounted to frustrations and failure to implement the CPA successfully. The interim period of six years held and the referendum was a world top success. The independence also went extremely well. Especially when President Al Bashir was the first to declare his country, Sudan, to recognize the new Republic of South Sudan, instantly, on 9 July 2011. With huge success, things went wrong again after two years of the independence. Why then?
Because the parties, SPLM and NCP, ruling Juba and Khartoum respectively, did not continue with the smooth implementation of the CPA. The CPA protocols for Abyei, Nuba Mountains, South Blue Nile, the borders demarcation, the security cooperation and petroleum administration, did not get their due attention to continue implementation of the subsidiarity and implement excerps of CPA. The Government of Sudan refused to implement the Abyei referendum, consultations with the people of the Nuba Mountains and South Blue Nile, in accordance with the CPA and the Interim Constitution. The states governments of Kadugli and Damazine were dissolved by Khartoum, thus reigniting the fire and war with the SPLM-North (as declared by General Malik Agar and General Abdel Aziz Al Hillu ), both Generals were elected Governors to run their native states in 2009.
The war broke out between Khartoum and these regions, but Juba SPLM did not intervene to stop it. That was unfortunate, the war in proxy between Juba and Khartoum ensued. It intered petroleum pipeline, border disputes and the like. To be exact, the war between South Sudan and Sudan have been on, but in proxy between the two governments. It was a real war but remoted and remained sweet coated and undeclared. But it broke opened after two years of the SPLM infighting, leadership assumptions, arrogance, ignorance, corruption, jealousy, hatred, security betrayals and negligence on matters of strategic foreign policy by the government. The relationship and tolerance among the SPLM leadership eroded to a point of no repair.
On 27 July 2013, Dr. Riek Machar and majority members of the present former detainees (FDs) were relieved from the cabinet by the President of the Republic, Salva Kiir Mayardit, on corruption and insubordination. On 15 December 2013, the war effectively broke out, thus toeing the ethnic lines within the ranks and files of the SPLM and SPLA. Many attempts have been exerted to stop the war but in vain. The first ever Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, ARCSS, was signed by the warring parties on 17 August 2015 but failed to take off in earnest. Then mediators led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, had recalled the ARCSS back onto the table on 6 February 2018 The ARCSS is now, internationally subjected, to a High-Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) for further revivification and final implementation thereafter. In spite of these highly exerted efforts by the international mediating community, it looks frustrating and may fail again because the warring parties seem not ready to yield to the destruction they have incurred on human and the country, so far. Their only agenda seems to anchor on regime change. Unfortunate the prayers, called by the Pope, does not advocate the “regime change” but embrace dialogue, reconciliation, inclusivity and negotiated resolution of conflict by all the parties to the conflict.
The Pope called for fasting and prayers to save humanity in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan! what hopes and expectations the Congolese, South Sudanese and the world community attach to those prayers?
Nothing, neither hopes nor expectations for good peace are anticipated, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo and recent position by the South Sudanese opposition parties, demanding that President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar Teny, should not participate in the next Transitional Government of National Unity. TGoNU. The presence of the USA and China in Congo and South Sudan is also a complicating factor because of compound and clash of interests. Americans interests range first over the national interests of inferior nations like Congo and South Sudan. America and not Belgium was the first to interfere in the internal affairs of Congo in 1960, destabilized the country and to exploit and tap the resources in detriment of indigenous citizens. To protect the American interest, the dictator General Mobutu Sese Seko had to rule Congo (Zaire) from 1965 to 1997. Joseph Kabila is another dictator like Mobutu, and therefore suitable for America and China. The same stalemate, no war no peace, is going to prevail in South Sudan.
The USA, wherever and whenever it indulges in peace or war, that country would never ever recover or reclaim peace. In the Middle East, the US maintains Monarchies (Saudi Arabia and others), a military rule like in Egypt, Sudan, Libya Yemen, and Algeria. Divides and maintains status qua like Koreas, Isreal, and Palestine, South Sudan and Sudan, Iraqis Shia, Sunni and Kurds and so on and on. The prayers, as directed by Pope Francis, are not going to change American greed and their national interest.
It could be concluded that for the United States of America Interest is paramount then making peace void of American interest, in terms of political and economic benefits and control.
Americans are not for peace of equals citizens even in their own country. With Americans in Congo and South Sudan, the fasting and prayers for peace are not holding on earth. But God holds mysterious lasting peace for the Congolese and South Sudanese. Our hopes and peaceful expectations are held by God only. We shall continue to pray for peace for Congo, South Sudan, Africa and the world without the USA.